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The 27th Annual General Assembly of the members of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association — HELMEPA took place on Monday 25 May and was hosted by member-company Costamare Shipping.
In the presence of the President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Mr. Th. Veniamis, the General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation Mr. J. Halas, the Chairman of PEPEN Mr. G. Vlachos, the Chairman of the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies Mr. A. Ventouris and other representatives of the Greek Maritime community and HELMEPA members, the Chairman Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos declared the commencement of the proceedings of the General Assembly.
The Director General, Dimitris Mitsatsos, presented the activities of the past year focusing on the certification of the Maritime Sector of HELMEPA as Maritime Training Center according to the requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Standards, which ensures a steadily high quality of training of officers and company staff of Greek shipping. He stressed that the non-profit character of HELMEPA, the Association’s founding on a voluntary basis by shipowners and seafarers, the fully transparent observation of the pledges of the founding Declaration by the members, cooperation with maritime administrations worldwide and the fact that HELMEPA projects the Greek shipping community without ever promoting interests, are those ingredients that led to international appreciation. He made special reference to the HELMEPA Junior program and the voluntary participation to date of tens of thousands of children and teachers from all the geographical compartments of the country.
The Treasurer of the Board Nicholas Bafaloukos presented the financial issues of the Association and following, the Chairman invited Commander Philip Campbell, Assistant Naval Attach of the US Embassy, to take the floor and present recent developments and his thoughts on the issue of addressing piracy at sea. Cdr Campbell made reference to the impacts of this contemporary problem and analyzed the conditions that influence the appearance of piracy incidents against merchant vessels in high risk areas, such as the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and the most usual tactics deployed by pirates. He then mentioned ways of addressing and mitigating the threat of piracy against vessels and closing, he expressed his conviction that close cooperation between international merchant shipping, the navy and other institutional bodies will bring about immediate results in dealing with piracy.
On the occasion of the General Assembly of HELMEPA members, the poster of the Association’s public awareness campaign for the summer of 2009 was presented bearing the message “Let’s change habits…not the climate!”

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